Homophily Evolution in Online Networks: Who is a Good Friend and When?
Homophily is considered by network scientists as one of the major mechanisms of social network formation. However, the role of dynamic homophily in the network growth process has not been investigated in detail yet. In this paper, we estimate the role of homophily by various attributes at different stages of online network formation process. We consider the process of online friendship formation in the Vkontakte social networking site among first-year students at a Russian university. We reveal that at the beginning of the network formation a similarity in gender and score in entrance exams plays the key role, while by the end of network establishment period the role of the same group affiliation becomes more important. We explain the results with the tendency of students to follow different strategies to control the information flow in their social environment. Do you want to read the rest of this chapter? Homophily Evolution in Online Networks: Who Is a Good Friend and When?.